My pixel outline. You can download it here.
My color chart. Right click on it and save to your computer.
My image is just a guide. Feel free to change the colors, apply cutouts or not, or add other effects to your liking. I put everything on its own layer (and name each one). That way you can easily go back and change colors later and correct any mistakes you've made. It makes a lot of layers, but it also keeps things organized and will save you a lot of heartache.
It makes things easier if you enlarge your graphic (use your magnifier tool) so you can see the pixels clearly. Feel free to save my images in this tut too, and enlarge them as necessary in order to see what I've done better.
The basic procedure for each piece will be the same. You'll add a new layer. Set your brush size to 1 and paint the outline of the piece in a darker color and then paint the inside in a lighter color (Hint: to do the inside coloring, make the outline layer active, choose your magic wand and click inside the section you want to color - then apply the color on your new layer).
I've applied a cutout to some pieces, usually using the same color as its outline color. To apply the cutout, select and float the selection (selections>select all>selections>float). You'll see the marquee ("marching ants") around the selection. Apply a cutout (effects>3d effects>cutout), using the settings in the screenshot (the shadow color will change for each selection). For some items, I repeated the cutout, changing the horizontal and vertical to -1 instead. Just play with the settings, it's a bit of a personal preference.
[Hint: When you're going to add a cutout, set your foreground or background color to the shadow color you're going to use. Then, when you apply your cutout, just right click on the shadow color box and choose the color from the recent colors displayed there.]
Step 1. Open up the pixel outline you downloaded. There are two layers - a background and the outline layer.
Open up the color chart you saved. Copy and paste it as a new layer onto your image. Move it to the top, out of the way. When you need a color, just click on it with your dropper tool.
Step 2. I'll show you the colors I used for each section of the graphic - feel free to change these as you wish.
Step 4. I decided to add a moon to my background, and since I think pixel circles usually don't look all that good, I just drew it with antialias on.
Make your background layer active. Flood fill with black.
Add a new layer. Set foreground color to null, background to color #12.
Choose your preset shapes tool>circle, using settings in the screenshot.
Draw a circle for your moon.
Select and float the selection (selections>select all>selections>float). Apply a cutout using these settings: horizontal-3, vertical-3, opacity-60, blur-9, shadow color-#13.
Step 5. I added a drop shadow to my merged layer too. Just use these settings: vertical-3, horizontal-3, opacity-about 30, blur-9, color-black, shadow on new layer (note: I always put drop shadows on their own layers, just makes it easier to adjust the opacity).
Step 6. When you're satisified with your result, delete the color chart and merge all layers. Save as gif format (or jpg if you prefer).
And you're finished. Quick and easy eh? Hope you enjoyed the tut!
Screenshots of programs used in this tutorial are copyrighted to their respective authors.
This tutorial was created on September 20, 2006.
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